White evangelical Christians aren’t exactly known for their nuanced thinking: everything fits in a strict binary, black-and-white category. Everything is either right or wrong, never gray, questionable, or on a spectrum.
That’s the line of thinking that produces a headline like this (which a pastor rightly mocked on Twitter):
— Pastor Juanita Rent-um (@seelolago) December 7, 2018
The piece at the Federalist suggests that the only options when it comes to sex are abstinence before marriage or a “sexual free-for-all.” The lived experiences of thousands — perhaps millions — of people, Christian and otherwise, debunks this. Plenty of people are having sex in monogamous, unmarried partnerships. But even if someone is promiscuous (however the writer defines that), that doesn’t necessarily constitute a lifestyle of sexual debauchery.
The following response illustrates a more appropriate reading of the matter:
People who insist on a binary religious belief system – all or nothing – often end up with an unattractive option. Life, sexual expression & religious beliefs are closer to a spectrum than a binary.
— Gary Simpson (@garysdeskcom) December 8, 2018
Even if you believe sex is best reserved for marriage, you can still agree with that sentiment. You can hold a conviction close to your heart without erasing others’ lived experiences. If only the Federalist and evangelicals who believe abstinence is the only acceptable option for everyone could see that.